Internships can teach you more than a classroom ever could. Think of an internship like the bridge connecting your education to your career path. An internship is where you sharpen your skills and eliminate your weaknesses before moving into the field of your dreams. Not only that, but interning will look great on a resume as you move forward in your career journey.
If you’re unsure if an internship will benefit you or not, consider the following five benefits of interning when deciding.
1. Exploring Potential Paths
Interning is a great way to explore a career path you’re interested in before committing to a long-term job. Through an internship, you get to fully immerse yourself in the daily life in a certain field and familiarize yourself with all the responsibilities you might be taking on. You can use this opportunity to not only determine if these are responsibilities that you feel capable of taking on, but responsibilities you actually enjoy doing. An internship is the closest you’ll get to the real job, so it’s going to be where you figure out if the path you’re exploring is worth it or if it’s time to change fields.
2. Gaining Work Experience
If you enjoy your internship and decide this is the career path you want to continue down, then perfect: you’ve got experience in the field of your dreams now! During a job hunt, an internship will put you ahead of the people who only have an educational background in your field. Having an internship on your resume shows that you’ve actually done the job before and are familiar with the tasks even outside of a classroom. It’ll be much easier to get your foot in the door of a full-time job with an internship as part of your background.
3. Developing New Skills
Usually, an internship is the first time you’re working hands-on in your chosen field, especially with an experienced supervisor. This offers the opportunity to not only develop skills you weren’t able to develop in the classroom but to have guidance from superiors and determine your strengths and weaknesses. You never know what types of skills are required until you’re actually on the job so expect to learn plenty of new things. Plus, you’ll have a new arsenal of skills to refresh your resume with and bring into future workplaces.
4. Creating A Network
An internship is a great way to get to know people within your field. Co-workers at your internship will be able to offer insight into what the career path looks like, and if you’re lucky, your supervisor at your internship could offer you mentorship. Use your internship as an opportunity to build connections with as many people at the workplace as you can – you never know when you’ll be able to help each other down the line. The people at your internship will also be ideal for any future references or recommendation letters that you may require, and they’ll have more evidence of your skills than a professor or manager at an unrelated job.
5. Instilling Confidence
You’re familiar with all of the factors that go into your ideal job because of prior education, sure, but you won’t actually know if you can put it into practice until you’re on the job. An internship is a place where you can build confidence in your abilities. As a step towards a job, an internship will be the place where you can get experimentation and mistakes out of the way without putting your reputation or source of income on the line. You’ll be able to come into your own in your chosen field through an internship, strengthening confidence in yourself by proving that you are capable of success and that you possess the skills your field requires. Confidence will obviously help you do your job better when you find a long-term position, but it’ll also shine through in your application packages and interviews.
It’s perfectly okay to want to move straight into the workforce from education, but there are plenty of reasons that internships shouldn’t be written completely off. An internship will teach you just as much about the field you’re aspiring to work in as it will about yourself, from your strengths to your weaknesses. Internships are the best thing you can do to strengthen yourself as a worker before stepping into your career.
Need further advice on your career path? Ask Style Nine to Five founder, Christie Lohr, One Career Question!
Emily Morrison is a media professional with passions for writing, film and popular culture.
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